Upcoming Auctions and Events

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
AN ALBUM PAGE: DARA SHIKOH IN CHILDHOOD
AN ALBUM PAGE: DARA SHIKOH IN CHILDHOOD

WITH LATER ATTRIBUTION TO LA’L CHAND, MUGHAL INDIA, LAST QUARTER 17TH CENTURY, THE CALLIGRAPHY SIGNED HIDAYATULLAH ZAKIM QALAM, DATED AH 1114/1703-04 AD

Details
AN ALBUM PAGE: DARA SHIKOH IN CHILDHOOD
WITH LATER ATTRIBUTION TO LA’L CHAND, MUGHAL INDIA, LAST QUARTER 17TH CENTURY, THE CALLIGRAPHY SIGNED HIDAYATULLAH ZAKIM QALAM, DATED AH 1114/1703-04 AD
Ink and pigments on paper, with identification inscription in black nasta'liq above, later attribution to La'l Chand, the reverse with a nasta'liq quatrain within elegant floral margins
12¾ x 7½in. (32.4 x 19cm.)

Brought to you by

Sara Plumbly
Sara Plumbly

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Prince Dara Shikoh (1615-59) was the eldest son of Emperor Shah Jahan and brother of ‘Alamgir. He was defeated and killed by his brother who rose to the throne as Emperor Aurangzeb. A number of portraits depicting him in his youth are known, including two full-length portraits from the Dara Shikoh album in the British Library: the first attributed to Chitarman, painted circa 1631-32 (Add.Or.3129, f.19v) and the second attributed to Murar, dated to the same year (f.59v., J.P. Losty and Malini Roy, Mughal India, Art, Culture and Empire, London, 2012, fig.78 and 80, pp.129-131). The present work shows a close likeness to the Murar portrait which depicts the prince aged 16 or 17.

The present work is attributed to La’l Chand, an artist whose works are found in the Dara Shikoh Album – he is known to have executed a portrait of Dara’s sister, Jahanara. He was a court artist of Shah Jahan, within whose reign most of his work falls. His major works include a miniature in the Windsor Padshahnama (f.70r, Milo Cleveland Beach and Ebba Koch, King of the World, exhibition catalogue, London, 1997, p.216) and a depiction of "Jahangir giving books to Sheikhs" from a Jahangirnama which is incorporated into the St. Petersburg Muraqqa (Milo Cleveland Beach, The Imperial Image. Paintings for the Mughal Court, exhibition catalogue, Washington D.C., 1981, no.17d, p.185). Other portraits by La'l Chand of noblemen and courtly figures are in the Minto album (Chester Beatty Library and Victoria and Albert Museum).

This portrait is executed in a relatively relaxed manner, avoiding harsh contours. A close comparison can be made to a portrait of young Aurangzeb by La’l Chand also in the Chester Beatty Library. In her discussion, Leach describes ‘La’l Chand’s informal, personal interpretation of the young prince [..]. The artist has used colour virtually only to highlight the jewellery [..]. This is therefore in no sense a sketch but is a carefully, deliberately prepared drawing with a delicate detail’ (Linda York Leach, Mughal and Other Indian Paintings, London, 1995, cat.3.80, pp.470-471). These qualities are certainly found in the present work. However the less precise attention given to the treatment of the garment, and the prince’s very composed face seem to point towards another hand, and a later date. See for instance, a portrait of a young prince with a ruby, dated circa 1670-80 and a drawing of a noble reclining in a zenana, dated between 1670 and the late 17th century (Leach, op.cit., cat.4.14, p.494 and cat.4.18, p.496).

Another Mughal calligraphic panel signed Hidayatullah, probably the same as the present scribe, dated 1691-92, was on the reverse of a Mughal drawing which sold at Christie’s, London, 23 October 2007, lot 342.

More from Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets

View All
View All